Will Smith’s slapping assault on Chris Rock was his second caught on camera slap attack since 2012

Smith should worry that Los Angeles city attorney Michael Feuer might want to pursue charges against him to help his campaign to replace Eric Garcetti as mayor

CLEVELAND, OH – Actor Will Smith was laughing at the GI Jane 2 joke fellow actor and comedian Chris Rock made about his wife Jada Pinkett until he saw she didn’t think it was funny. That’s when he approached the stage and open-handed slapped Rock – whose arms were behind his back – in a stunning display of hood rat violence.   Rock was hosting the Academy Awards show when he took the cowardly actor’s heavy-handed slap.

The controlled comedian’s reaction was priceless.  As Smith approached him on the stage, Rock said one word, “Richard,” in reference to tennis nobility Venus and Serena Williams’ “crazy” father in the role he played in the bio-film.  The 57-year-old Rock’s hands were never unclenched behind him as he leaned forward towards the 53-year-old Smith before the slap. 

After the slap balls his right hand into a fist and it briefly looks like he’s leaning into throwing an uppercut. Instead he regains his posture and says, “Oh wow.  Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me.”  Smith then screams twice from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.”  Rock responds, “Wow Dude.  It was a GI Jane joke” before saying “I’m going to” in response to the physically larger man’s demands.  He then says, “That was the greatest moment in television history.”  The audience is back under his control with the punchline; and Rock appears calm as he continues to host the show.

It was the second time since 2012 that Smith was caught on camera slapping someone who pissed him off.  In 2012 he lightly backhanded a Ukrainian reporter / fan, Vitalii Sediuk, for kissing him on the cheek at an event in Moscow, Russia where he was promoting the film Men in Black 3.

Smith apologized the night of the Academy Awards event to the organization’s board and cast of King Richard; or the film he starred in as tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams’ “crazy” father.  In his tearful apology Smith referenced the Williams sisters’ father as a defender of his family when he accepted his only Academy Award as a performing artist.  During his March 28, 2022 night of the Academy Awards apology there was a brief second when Smith broke into a slight smile he quickly suppressed as his regrets were expressed to everyone but Rock.  The next day Smith’s Instagram page carried a written apology that referred to the incident with Rock.  

Rock is holding all the “victim” cards and Smith’s career in his hands as there are two stories emerging about his reaction to the publicly viewed assault or battery.  One is that Rock has “declined” to press charges with Los Angeles, California officials against Smith.  The other is that Rock has not “filed” a complaint against Smith nor publicly-revealed his plans civil or criminal prosecution plans. 

“LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program. The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

The use of the word “decline” was chosen by “LAPD investigative entities” who issued a written statement which read that they were “aware” of the incident.  The statement did not read that the “investigative authorities” had met with or spoken to Rock, Smith or Academy Award officials.  A New York Post PAGE 6 story identifies a source who said Rock’s “management team” spoke to the city’s police. 

Comedian Chris Rock reacts to actress Jada Pinkett’s look of displeasure at his joke about her starring in GI Jane 2.

The New York Post quoted Sean “P-Diddy” Combs who claims he spoke separately to Rock and Smith and alleged that the drama was squashed.  Rock is being spoken for by others but no publication or social media outlet has carried his own words about Smith’s cowardly attack on the older and smaller man.

Rock may not have to file a complaint if the chief prosecuting attorney for the city of Los Angeles’ chooses to use Smith’s act of public violence to gain political advantage over his opponents in the California city’s current mayor’s campaign.  City attorney Michael Nelson Feuer is campaigning to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti and Smith has given him a political opportunity.

Prosecuting Smith generates publicity that would build Feuer a state, national and international profile.  The move would be polarizing since Smith has fans and his opponents could accuse him of exploiting the star’s reckless decision.  But there are those who see Smith’s wealth as giving him a privileged consciousness where he thinks he can get away with attacking people who offend him.  Feuer could appeal to the Los Angeles voters who don’t care about Smith’s celebrity and want to see him punished for his arrogance.  Media coverage of the trial would be sustained and intense.

Actor Will Smith laughed along with the audience about Chris Rock’s reference to Jada Pinkett starring in a fictional GI Jane 2 he created as a joke.  Actress Demi Moore allowed her head to be shaved for the GI Jane role. Pinkett shaved her head because of alopecia and said that she and the hair loss disease were going to become friends. She didn’t like the GI Jane 2 reference because it drew attention to her medical condition. Smith decided to defend the honor of his Queen the wrong way by assaulting Rock when he had his hands behind his back.

The support Smith showed for his wife was understood, but the vast majority of the world is not on Pinkett’s Instagram page or watch Red Table Talk to know she’s suffering from alopecia.  Healthcare information is privacy protected unless it’s released by the patient.  I thought Pinkett’s bald head came from her copying one of daughter Willow’s hair styles.

Smith’s 2012 attack occurred in Russia and serves as evidence that hitting people is one of his traits.  Foreign media, The Sun, interviewed the first man Smith publicly slapped in Moscow.  Sediuk told the British publication he was wrong for kissing Smith’s cheek as he called the practice a Ukrainian custom.  He joked that Smith’s light slap of his face was practice for the harder slap he delivered Rock.

Section 240 through 248 of California’s penal code describes two offenses that describe Smith’s attack on Rock.  One is assault that carries up to $1000 in fines and six months in prison.  The other is battery which carries up to $2000 in fines and six months in prison.  Battery adds the element of “bodily injury” that requires medical attention. 

While it appears Rock took Smith’s heavy-handed slap like it was nothing, Americans won’t learn if he sought medical attention until he breaks his silence about the violent incident.  No matter what’s been published or broadcast about him, all reports point to his silence about his thoughts.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.